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Disaffected 14-16 year olds in education...report published

Research by Hilary Steedman, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), and Sheila Stoney (NFER) Skills for All Programme, published this month has been quoted in the Tomlinson Report on GSCE's and A levels published this week (Monday 18 October).

The report, Disengagement 14-16: context and evidence, presents an overview of issues relating to poor motivation of 14-16 year old school pupils in the UK and is based on a seminar series held at LSE in 2002-03 with contributions from a number of experts in the field.

The report presents evidence from historical, comparative, and social science perspectives and reports the results of evaluation of government intervention programmes to improve motivation. Among the findings are:

  • International comparisons (PISA) show UK disengagement below the OECD average but the UK has the strongest link between socioeconomic disadvantage and disengagement.
  • A very small 'out of touch' group are identified who have practically lost touch with school. These often require intensive one-on-one mentoring outside the school context
  • A larger group - around one fifth of the cohort - could be characterised as 'disaffected but in touch'. Evaluation of government intervention programmes has not so far shown an obvious way forward for the 'disaffected but in touch' group, targeted principally by workplace learning measures.
  • Around 15 per cent of the cohort who gain between one and four GCSE passes at Grades A*-C were found to have not reached full potential as a result of loss of interest in learning. For the '1-4 Grade C' group, better vocational options may be a way to maintain interest.

This full report can be downloaded free from http://cep.lse.ac.uk/pubs/abstract.asp?index=2108| 

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Notes:

Hilary Steedman is a director of the Skills for All Programme and senior research fellow at the Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.

Sheila Stoney is a director of the Skills for All Programme and assistant director and head of research at the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), Slough, Berkshire.

22 October 2004

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